Airplane boarding, the Right Way to Do It

Mythbusters airplane boarding

Most people who fly think the way the airlines handle boarding is, to be blunt, stupid. But did you wonder if the airlines ever gathered any hard data to determine what the best method of boarding a plane actually is? My guess is that no airline ever actually did the experiments. Luckily, our friends and the wonderful TV show Mythbusters DID do the experiments, they tried 6 different methods and timed each one. What did they find? To no one’s surprise, the method of boarding from the back of the plane to the front was the SLOWEST method, and this is THE MOST COMMON METHOD USED BY MOST AIRLINES!

What is the best (fastest) method? It’s called WILMA, an easy acronym to remember to board the window seats first, then the middle seats, and the aisle seats last. Here is a quick video showing the tests and the results. When you think about it this makes sense. They didn’t test disembarking but my gut tell me that this would also be the best method, rather than the current one of row by row which is painfully slow.

I’ve flown hundreds of times on dozens of airlines all over the world and I have NEVER seen boarding done by the WILMA method. Why? I wish I had a good answer. Maybe airlines, like people, resist change. I wish some of them would at least try this method, it would make flying more enjoyable for us passengers and would save money for the airlines. And isn’t that what they really care about?